Cookies for Ubuntu August 30, 2009

Article contributed by Amber Graner

Have you ever been to a meeting of any kind and watched who was gathered around whom? I have and with the volunteer stuff I do like School, Scouts, Church, LoCo, LUG, Civic, Political, Family meetings/gatherings to name a few it’s usually the people who show up with something in their hands to give to other people. The whole “better to gave than receive” idea works brilliantly with volunteer organizations like those listed above.

Anytime I go to a meeting/event for the first time I always try to bring something I think people in the groups would want. A good example is cookies. People love cookies even those who can’t eat them usually appreciate the effort. Usually this is a great ice breaker and I get to meet people who would have typically stuck to a clique in a group. Especially those groups that have been established for a while the cliques have been there for a while too.

My very first LUG meeting I brought Ubuntu Cd’s and Stickers. It was a great way to introduce myself and say, “hi” to folks. So now in the TriLUG group in Raleigh, even if people can’t remember my name they at least say “hey, it’s the Ubuntu Lady.” I smile and feel flattered to be associated with the that distribution.

Also, for those who’s spouses,significant others, or children say, “What do you do at a LUG, LoCo, meeting?” Maybe they want to be part of that and they feel like they aren’t really a technical person, yet.:-) Then bringing cookies or some other something like distribution Cd’s, stickers or some other SWAG helps break the ice and get the word out about that particular distribution it also does one other very important thing – It helps make someone who walked through the door saying to themselves, “why am I here?” feel like they are important to a group of people they just met.

Everyone when joining a group of anything, needs to feel like whatever they do for that group it important and the personal time they are giving to that group is valued and not wasted. I know if I go to a group that I am volunteering for and I am made to feel like a ghost and that my contribution is so small it’s not important then guess what, time to find a new group. It is very important to make sure everyone in a group gets their motivation paycheck (thanks Emma for the term). A smile and a sincere thank you for bringing the cookies is a great start for both the person bringing the cookies and the person receiving them.

So next time you are nervous about going to a meeting for the first time, think who is your audience, and what can you contribute to break the ice and meet so people. If you are wanting Cd’s, books, stickers, or something you will have to order make sure you plan properly for those things. If you are bringing cookies or other food stuff, ask someone you know in the group a couple questions. Can outside food be brought in? How many people are usually at these meetings? If you don’t know anyone email or call the organization and ask them.

So if you are going to any Ubuntu meetings I haven’t heard any one say, hey we don’t like cookies. Bake up a batch of your favorite cookies and bring them to an event. Remember – Cookies for Ubuntu! Yum-O!

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